In order to get what you want out of life, you must first know what is that. How can you develop your potential if you don’t know who you are or what makes you happy? This is why goal setting is such an important skill to learn, and something everyone should spend more time exploring.
When you don’t know what your goals are, life becomes a bit of a journey without a destination. Unfortunately, goal setting is far from easy and largely a skill in itself. The problem is that many people do not realize this and never think of evaluating the quality of the goals for themselves. They blame their motivation, their circumstances, or even other people.
Goal setting is useful because it makes you more likely to achieve your goals which itself brings satisfaction and more motivation to keep progressing and improving, it helps you with time management and better organization, overall makes you feel excited about the day as you are aligned with your purpose that as result improves your wellbeing and relationships.
You will learn what makes a great goal and how to formulate goals that you can achieve really well. Once you’re done, you may find out why life hasn’t gone the way you’d like it to be.
AN EXAMPLE OF BAD GOAL SETTING
To understand how to write a good goal, it can be helpful to first look at what a bad goal is. Why are some goals just not working the way they should? What should we do differently to prevent this the next time?Let’s imagine for a moment that you want to get in shape. You plan to lose weight and gain muscle, which is a pretty popular goal that many people are interested in achieving.
In this case, a typical goal might be to write down the ideal body weight and/or measurements you want to achieve and then set a goal: 3 months, 6 months, or 1 year. And then you achieve it! But this is a doomed goal. Because it’s too lazy, too far away, and too out of your control.
Fast forward two weeks. Hopefully, by this point, you have been exercising hard for a while and making changes to your diet. Suddenly life starts to get in the way. You’re stuck on other things you need to do and you just don’t have the time or energy to hit the gym today. Or tomorrow. And Wednesday looks complicated. So is Thursday. But it is okay. Because you don’t have to exercise.
If you don’t exercise on these days, your goal will not be broken. You have plenty of time to reach your destination. If you take time off today, all you need to do is spend a little more time tomorrow or the next day. If this week is a cancellation, you can always do it next week. It goes on week after week until you reach the end of your allotted time and find that you have wasted every chance of achieving that goal.
Or how about this alternative scenario? Imagine you’ve invested time and worked hard every day to get in shape, but the pounds just haven’t come off. Maybe that’s because of slow metabolism, maybe it’s because people are offering to take you out to dinner as well. Either way, you come to a certain point and again realize that you are not going to make it. Even though you did your best. You give up discouraged and leave it long before trying again.
GREAT GOAL-SETTING EXAMPLE
So let’s imagine the same scenario, but this time you made goal setting properly. What would be a good goal if you want to lose weight and gain muscle? How about, instead of achieving something in X days, your goal is to do something every day. Take a look at the goal you want to achieve, then break it down into much smaller steps.
To lose weight, you need to eat 2,000 calories or less a day. And you need to do three exercises. per week. If you can do this, you may notice changes, large or small. So instead of focusing on the ultimate goal, set yourself a short-term goal. This is entirely within your control, which means that you cannot “fail” for reasons beyond your control.
The idea is that you are building a chain as you achieve your daily goals and this creates immense pressure not to break the chain. You can do it with a calendar and a pen. Every day that you train successfully, put a tick on the calendar for that day. This will then gradually accumulate a series of tics and overtime, you will be proud of your progress.
IMPORTANCE OF TAKING SMALL STEPS
There is nothing wrong with an ambitious goal. Many people say that “dreaming big” can even increase the likelihood that you will achieve your goal by getting attention, getting people to see you, and helping people get involved. Telling people that you want to fly into space will get you a lot more positive attention than telling people that you want to climb Mount Snowdown (a beautiful little mountain in Wales).
The visions are abstract and they are great. These are things that you visualize and dream about, rather than things that you write and mark up. Work on something you truly believe in.
If you want to get in shape, your goal may be to exercise three times a week. However, your vision would be to become the best possible physical specimen that is attractive to everyone and full of confidence and energy.
But while a vision can be as great AND extreme as you like, these smaller steps should be small and simple. At least in the beginning, these steps should be simple and this will allow you to move closer to your higher overall goal. Think of that as a hierarchy. Above you have your great vision for the future, something so exciting that it will help you get out of bed in the morning. Below that, you may have your “realistic” version of what your current resources can achieve.
You may have the steps you take every day to get there. The mistake that many people make is to bundle all these things together and ignore the necessary progress from one level to the next. Because of this, someone who has never been to the gym before could write up a new exercise regimen that involves exercising for one hour a day, seven days a week, and doing it on a 1000 calorie diet. Then stretch over it and begin a yoga class.
Is it any wonder we don’t stick to these goals? The problem is usually impatience. People want to achieve their goals now. Everything that is worthwhile involves work and diligence, and this is often very repetitive and boring.
If you are looking to start your own business, there is a lot to learn before you start. It is so important that you have a concrete plan of action! Think of this as a computer game. Computer games start with a few levels that are incredibly easy and that are necessary to do so prevent you from giving up your anger as a gamer.
You started to walk by crawling… It often only takes small changes to get where you want to go. This is best illustrated by the Japanese term “kaizen”. Kaizen essentially means “lots of small changes that lead to big results”.
Let’s return to our example. If you start chaning your habits slowly like taking a walks everyday, using bicycle instead of car, getting rid of one sugary thing you eat often. That will be small achivable steps to take before pushing hard yourself to gym, which at one point you will be motivated enough to do it.
These are just a few small changes that should be easy for most people to follow and still be enough to really shift the total amount of calories in your favor, ultimately resulting in cumulative weight loss!
Structuring your goals properly can make a world of difference when it comes to how likely you are to achieve those goals. The key is to set your goals high but have small concrete steps that you can take along the way.
Remember to always reflect on your progress, the bullet journal is a great way to track your goals. You may need to modify it from time to time but that is part of the process. Like everything else, this takes time, practice, and effort.